This is a representation of a “Pieta” from Renaissance Europe. A “pieta” is a painting or sculpture which depicts Mary holding Jesus following his crucifixion. I used this image in my Modern Europe and U.S. History course today, by way of introducing the Renaissance. During the Renaissance, artists used their works to rediscover the humanity of Jesus of Nazareth, to make him more relatable to the average person. There are many examples of this.
While discussing this sculpture today, I found myself welling up. This is not all that unusual for me, as I am an emotional person, generally speaking. I welled up because of the inherent human-ness of this artistic work. Although the subject matter is religious — Mary, Mother of God and Jesus Christ — it could be any mother and child.
Look at the broken man, lying in the arms of his mother. Look at the expression on Mary’s face, as she cradles her dead child. The man suffered great torture. The mother suffers more deeply than most of us can imagine, unless we have lost a child.
I instantly thought of all of the mothers (and fathers) who’s sons and daughters have died in Iraq and Afghanistan. All for the whims of the neocons. All for the stupidity of George W. Bush. All for the nefarious ends of Dick Cheney. And I fought back the tears.
I thought of Cindy Sheehan. She was vilified by the right — by O’Reilly, by Hannity, by that fat drug addict Limbaugh — and for what? For wanting to talk to the President of the United States and ask him why her son was killed in an unjust war of his own making.
When I showed this image, I thought of all the sorrow the mothers of our nation have suffered under President Bush.
I thought of my nephew Timmy, and my nieces Molly and Emily. I thought of how I might feel if some neo-fascist American president sent them off to die for nothing. For nothing. For nothing.
We’ve had our fill of sorrow since 9/11.
The most horrid thing of all is that much of that sorrow was self-inflicted.
They destroyed this nation.